Umberto Eco’s latest novel is short but the satire pumps it up to become a formidable read. As with many of Eco’s works, Numero Zero is involved with fictions and conspiracies.
It’s safe to contend that Eco has written a satire of the corruption and failure of the Italian government fronted by that well-known playboy and media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi. In Eco’s fiction, a rich and powerful man known as Il Commendatore commissions a new newspaper which will be less involved with rehashing yesterday’s news and more focused on developing the future effects of that news. To this end a group of ragged journalists is brought together and a series of papers is planned to show that Il Commendatore can get the job done. It is important to understand that this first run (Numero Zero) is a fake mock-up cobbled together from old news with the intension, not of developing new media, but rather to convince the media insiders that Il Commendatore should be admitted to their inner-circle.